DelPiccolo believes he has residents’ wishes at heart |

DelPiccolo believes he has residents’ wishes at heart

Karen Bowers

Coming Friday

In Friday’s Summit Daily News opinion page, Mayor Lou DelPiccolo and Councilwoman Sheila Groneman, in their words, tell Silverthorne voters why they should be chosen as mayor.

Editor’s Note: In the April 2 Silverthorne election, neither Sheila Groneman nor incumbent mayor Lou DelPiccolo received more than 50 percent of the votes for mayor. The two face a runoff election May 7.

This is the second of a two-part series outlining the goals and aspirations for each Silverthorne mayoral candidate. The first story appeared April 25.

SILVERTHORNE – Lou DelPiccolo has spent his time in the mayor’s seat trying to follow Silverthorne voters’ sometimes contradictory mandates: don’t establish a property tax, but find a predictable source of revenue; allow development, but don’t let it devolve into sprawl and don’t put in too many commercial buildings; build classy developments, but keep it affordable for all residents; and don’t fund open space, but do develop parks and recreation.

It’s not easy to please everyone. Sometimes it’s impossible.

Complying with the public’s edict is made even more tough because, as mayor, DelPiccolo cannot vote except in the event of a tie. So he deems it his responsibility instead to make summary evaluations and overall assessments and then help guide the council’s decisions and bring the members to agreement. Hopefully, what results is a solution acceptable to the majority of Silverthorne’s voters.

They succeed much of the time.

Sometimes it’s a real balancing act.

DelPiccolo believes, for example, that Silverthorne residents won’t stand for reinstituting a property tax. “It’s a dead issue,” he said.

After City Market left town in 1998, taking with it 20 percent of Silverthorne’s sales tax revenue, town officials asked the residents whether they wished to bring back property taxes.

The answer was a resounding “no”, with 70 percent of the people voting against a property tax.

“I don’t think the opinion will change unless catastrophic events happen,” DelPiccolo said. “And it’s my job, as mayor, to see that catastrophic events don’t happen.”

But when there’s no clear mandate from the public, things get messy. That’s when town leaders must decide what they believe is best for the town.

The result is a mixed bag.

The result is the hoopla over the annexation of Silver Mountain Village and the Blue River Club.

DelPiccolo and about half the council members believe the annexation and subsequent development will benefit the town. The two projects combined would add 555 homes to Silverthorne. The smaller Silver Mountain Village includes 192 homes. The Blue River Club is a 500-acre private golf club surrounded by 355 homes. The developers have sweetened the pot by promising land for a new school and a day-care center, both of which Silverthorne residents said in town surveys are priorities.

The sticking point is 11 acres of proposed commercial development on the 72-acre Silver Mountain Village site. It has drawn opposition from some town residents and from people who live in unincorporated areas just outside the town limits. Exactly how many people oppose or are in favor is unknown.

DelPiccolo believes the development will not – cannot – go through without the commercial sector. Town residents clearly don’t want to pay property taxes, he said, and the only way to pay for services such as police and fire protection to those new homes is to make sure there is a revenue-producing business factor to the development.

There is no way to approve part of the projects; it all goes hand in hand.

DelPiccolo is supporting what he thinks most residents want. The only way to tell if he’s right might be when voters go to the polls May 7.

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